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January 1, State Races Against Clock: Striking Military Deal Crucial To Save Scenic Airfield

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The state of Hawaii has until just after the new year to reach a deal with the military to keep the popular Dillingham Airfield open. Located on Oahu’s North Shore, the Army installation has long been a tourist destination, offering scenic views of the island and unique activities such as skydiving.

However, if a new lease agreement is not reached between the military and the state, the airfield’s closure could jeopardize many jobs, according to a Hawaii News Now report.

“It’s the only place on Oahu where we can do the skydiving. It’s the busiest drop zone in the world. On the other side, we have one of the most famous gliding zones in the world,” said James Aagaard of Hawaii Rotor Adventures.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation currently leases the land from the Army for $1 per year. For the last 10 years, the state and the Army have agreed to short-term leases every few years. As the current lease ends, operators of the airfield are seeking a longer-term deal to ensure continued investment in its operations.

“I need assurances that I can be there for [the] long term,” Hawaii DOT Director Ed Sniffen told Hawaii News Now. “I need assurances that when I put money into that airfield, I will have the time to appreciate that money and make sure any agreements are fulfilled with that money. I need to know that I can build things where I need to keep everybody safe. And the last thing is, I need water on the side, but I don’t know how to run the system, so I need someone else to do it.”

The plan is to secure a 50-year lease, but Army Garrison Hawaii has stated that this “exceeds our approval authority locally and requires approval at the Department of the Army level in Washington, D. C.”

The garrison added, “We have been working diligently with our higher headquarters to receive an expedited assessment and decision from the Department of the Army on a longer-term lease in December. We have been working closely with the Hawaii Department of Transportation throughout the process and value their partnership as we work toward a common goal of maintaining the airfield for the collaborative use of the community and the Army.”

A Fox News Digital request for comment from the Army was referred to Army Garrison Hawaii, which did not immediately respond. Meanwhile, local residents believe that any deal to keep the airfield open is a good one.

“If they can’t get a long-term, get what they can get,” North Shore resident Dan Walker told Hawaii News Now.

Why It Matters (op-ed)

The potential closure of Dillingham Airfield in Hawaii is a concerning development. This Army installation is not only a tourist destination, but also a significant source of jobs for local residents.

The state’s current negotiations with the military should focus on securing a long-term lease to ensure the airfield’s continued operation. This would provide stability for businesses and protect jobs in the area.

Moreover, the government should prioritize investments in infrastructure and safety at the airfield. This would not only benefit the Army and local businesses, but also contribute to the overall economic growth of the region.

In conclusion, reaching a deal to keep Dillingham Airfield open is crucial for both the local community and the state of Hawaii.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Sunshine Kid

    December 17, 2023 at 6:45 am

    Yeah, jobs and economy. Nothing about the security of the state.

    One has to await the censor’s review of any posts here, so I am being less inclined to post here, as I abhor censorship!

  2. Colleen

    December 17, 2023 at 11:34 am

    This is a democrat run state, they will find some way to either screw it up or lose it. After WW2 you think they’d want more military, but like I say democratic run states and cities are being undermined by that braindead, power-hungry party.

  3. J

    December 17, 2023 at 7:25 pm

    The military should keep this open. It is practically the closest area to North Korea. They seem so missile happy, who knows what they will do.

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